Intro: The Search for the Best Banks in Chicago, Aurora, Rockford, and Other Cities in Illinois

Which banks in Illinois offer the best interest yields? Which banks in Chicago offer accounts with low monthly fees?

Which are the best banks to get a loan from or to do business with in Rockford, Aurora, Joliet, and other regions in Illinois?

All of these are important questions to ask yourself when you begin your search for the best banks in Chicago and throughout Illinois.

Best Banks in Illinois

Award Emblem: Top 13 Best Banks in Illinois

Selecting the Best Banks in Chicago and other IL Cities

Choosing the best bank in Illinois is about more than special deals or offers; it’s also about looking for a financial institution that you can see yourself partnering with well into the future.

For example, a top Chicago bank can be differentiated from other banks in Illinois in many ways, including the fees they charge customers, the competitiveness of their interest rates, and the quality of service they consistently delivered.

Also important when selecting the best banks in Chicago, Illinois, or anywhere in the state, is whether or not they’re convenient and accessible, what kind of reputation they have among other consumers just like yourself, and what steps they take to make sure your money is always secured and protected.

These considerations and many others were essential in the creation of this ranking of the best banks in Illinois and top Chicago banks.

Each of these banks in the Midwest are trusted, respected, established, and have valuable offerings available to consumers, regardless of their past or present financial situation or their personal financial goals.

AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 13 Best Banks in Illinois

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the bank names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that Illinois bank):

Top 13 Best Banks in Chicago and Other Cities in Illinois | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Best Banks in Illinois

Highlighted Features

Associated BankMultiple digital payment options
Bank of AmericaKeep the Change Savings program for checking accounts
BMO HarrisExtensive cash back credit card rewards programs
CitibankFinancial education on wealth management
Fifth ThirdExclusive security measures to shield against identity theft
First Midwest BankInstant cash checking services
First National BankFirst at Work program provided for employees of participating businesses
MB FinancialDynamic overdraft protection programs
PNC BankMultiple online banking tools
Regions BankLink bank accounts to Quicken & QuickBooks
TCF BankEducational courses on finances for adults & teens
U.S. BankWide array of online investing tools
Woodforest National BankSecond Chance checking account for those with previous banking troubles

Table: Top 13 Best Illinois Banks | Above list is sorted alphabetically

Common Services Offered by Illinois Banks

While every Illinois bank is unique in some ways (which is an important area of focus in this ranking of the best banks in Chicago and throughout Illinois), many also have similarities.

Image Source: Best Banks in Illinois

Some of those similarities lie in the types of services they offer. Some of the most common services provided by the best banks in Chicago and by top banks across Illinois include:


This can refer to anything ranging from opening a checking account to a savings or interest-bearing money market account.

Deposits are one of the most popular reasons consumers rely on an Illinois bank, and in the U.S., bank deposits are protected by the FDIC.

Online Banking

Online banking is one of the most common services offered by modern banks, and this often also includes mobile banking functionality, with many of the services you would find by visiting a branch.

Credit Cards

Most banks in Chicago and across the Midwest have not only deposit accounts but also credit card products, with varying interest rates, reward offers, and other features and benefits consumers find attractive.


From mortgages to care loans, often consumers will obtain loans from their Illinois bank, and in many cases it might be the same bank they do their other business with.

How Do You Select the Best Bank in Illinois?

Choosing a bank can be a major decision, and it’s not one that should be done hastily.

Perhaps the most important factor to consider when selecting from the top banks in Illinois or any state is the fees they charge. Most Chicago banks charge fees on accounts and other services, but consumers should strive to find the lowest fees possible.

As well as saving money, it’s essential to consider how you’ll earn money by choosing one Illinois bank over another. Midwest banks often compete with one another to have the lowest fees but the highest interest rates on deposits.

Convenience is a third important consideration, although, with the rise of online and mobile banking, it’s less important to have branches located near your home or work, or to work with a bank that has extended hours.

The top rated Chicago banks included on our list, as well as the best banks in Illinois all offer online and mobile platforms in some form or the other.

Finally, think about the reputation and customer service offered by a bank. When you have questions or need help with anything involving your money, you want to be able to turn to a trusted advisor, and if a bank has a poor reputation for customer service, you may not feel comfortable doing so.

How Do You Switch Banks?

After doing research, you may discover you’d like to switch Illinois banks– so how do you do so?

The first step is, of course, deciding which Illinois bank you’d like to move to, by comparing factors like the ones mentioned above.

Once you’ve done that, you can then begin opening new accounts at the bank you select. It’s important to remember not just to open the accounts you need, but also to move any and all automatic transactions to your new bank in Illinois.

This can include recurring payments that are automatically drafted from your account, including those that are set up for online bill pay. You should also think about automatic and direct deposits that are made into your account.

It’s a good idea to keep some money in your old account during the transition, in case there are any automatic or leftover payments you forget.

Once you do close your accounts, you’ll need to have documentation from the banks showing that everything is closed out and finalized officially.

AdvisoryHQ’s Selection Methodology

What methodology does AdvisoryHQ use in selecting and finalizing the credit cards, financial products, firms, services, and products that are ranked on its various top-rated lists?

Please click here “AdvisoryHQ’s Ranking Methodologies” for a detailed review of AdvisoryHQ’s selection methodologies for ranking top-rated credit cards, financial accounts, firms, products, and services.

Detailed Review—Top Ranking Best Banks in Illinois

Below, please find a detailed review of each bank on our list of best banks in Illinois. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these top Illinois banks to score so high in our selection ranking.

See Also: Best Banks in Michigan (Ranking & Review)

Associated Bank Review

Associated Bank has roots in the late 1800s and remains committed to a strong vision and defined values. This Midwest bank and financial services company demonstrates a consistent commitment to customers, colleagues, communities, and shareholders.

As part of Associated Bank-Corp., with headquarters in Green Bay, Wisconsin, this leader among Illinois banks serves more than 100 communities.

Along with Illinois, locations of Associated Bank are also found in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Key Factors That Allowed Associated Bank to Rank as One of the Best Banks in Illinois

The list below highlights reasons Associated Bank was selected for this ranking of the best banks in Illinois and the best banks in Chicago.

Security Center

With so many high-profile hacking and data theft scandals impacting credit card and particularly debit cardholders over recent years, Associated Bank strives to put security at the top of the priority list for their services, as well as when it comes to offering education and resources for customers.

The Security Center available from Associated Bank includes educational resources on topics ranging from fraudulent email to Internet purchases.

There are also tools and guides to protecting yourself against a range of threats, updates on recent scams, and quick and easy links to the resources customers need to report potential fraud or cards that may be lost or stolen. 

Refer a Friend

One of the signature offers from this top bank in Illinois is their Refer a Friend program. Under this program, when current customers refer anyone to the bank, and they open and use a new checking account, the referring customer can receive a $50 Visa Reward Card.

To do this, users first register their information online. They then provide contact information and valid information for the friend or family member they’re referring, or the offer can be shared on social media.

Once the friend or family member registers, opens a new account and completes a set of requirements within 60 days after opening their account, both parties receive the $50 gift card.

Checking Benefits

Associated Bank is one of the best banks in Chicago and throughout all of Illinois. One way they excel is in their offering of checking account benefits.

These advantages include overdraft protection transfer service, the ability to order checks and bank online, and direct deposit.

Checking account holders from Associated Bank have free ATM access at more than 20,000 MoneyPass surcharge-free ATMs throughout the country, which all boast advanced technology for efficiency and security.

Using these ATMs lets customers deposit multiple checks and cash without a deposit slip or envelope, anytime and anywhere.

Digital Payments

As a technologically advanced Illinois bank, Associated Bank offers many digital payment options for consumers.

These include:

  • App Pay: This can be used in conjunction with Associated Bank MasterCard debit cards and Visa credit cards to pay thousands of merchants across the country.
  • Samsung Pay: For Samsung devices, this is created using Associated Bank debit cards and Visa credit cards, offering easy payment options and simple setup.
  • MasterPass: If you want to eliminate online checkout forms, create an account with MasterPass, and you can use this free digital wallet service, available from MasterCard.

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First Midwest Bank Review

First Midwest Bank is considered one of the best banks in Chicago, Illinois, where its headquarters are located. As well as being considered a pick for the best bank in Chicago, First Midwest also maintains more than 100 locations across Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa.

Services available from First Midwest Bank include consumer and business banking, as well as commercial and wealth management products and services.

First Midwest Bank has the resources of a large Illinois bank combined with the customer service of an intimate community bank.

Key Factors Leading Us to Rank First Midwest Bank as One of the Top Banks in Illinois

Listed below are some of the essential reasons First Midwest was selected as one of the leading banks in Chicago and the top banks in Illinois.

Instant Check Cashing

For customers who have checks that need to be cashed quickly, there are instant check cashing options available from First Midwest.

With this feature, money is immediately available, without the need to wait for a check to clear. Cash can be obtained regardless of account balance, and this feature requires no checking account to use.

Nearly any type of check can be cashed using Instant Check Cashing, including:

  • Personal
  • Payroll
  • Business
  • Insurance agency
  • Cashier’s checks
  • Money orders
  • Two-party checks
  • Traveler’s checks
  • Rebates
  • Tax refunds
  • Tax preparation firm checks
  • Government tax refunds
  • Federal, state, and municipal government checks

Electronic Transfer Accounts

Electronic Transfer Accounts are a First Midwest product offering that are designed for customers who receive federal payments.

These ETAs are ideal to receive a variety of payment types including Social Security, OPM Retirement, VA Benefits, and civilian or military salary or wages.

ETAs are combined with direct deposit to ensure security and confidentiality. The benefits of using ETAs from First Midwest include a market rate, federal insurance, and they can be used with Midwest Debit Card and Online Banking.

Users also receive 100 Tuition Rewards for each eligible account they hold, plus 5% annual of year to-to-date average account balances.

Tuition Rewards

Tuition Rewards is a First Midwest client service that lets users receive points based on their banking services, accounts, and balances on deposits and loans. The Tuition Rewards accumulate over the years and can be used toward tuition at participating schools.

Any client with eligible personal deposit or loan accounts can earn points, and they can be accumulated on behalf of children and stepchildren, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, cousins, and godchildren.

Points are gathered just by enrolling in the program and opening eligible accounts; then, there is a 5% annual rate of year-to-date average balances in all traditional deposit accounts, and 5% one-time contribution of the original amount of a new or existing loan.

Apple Pay

Customers of First Midwest can make secure purchases and transactions using their debit card and Apple Pay. iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch already have the Passbook app preloaded, making it even easier for users.

All that needs to be done is the addition of the First Midwest Bank Debit Card by taking a picture of the card within the Passbook app. Then users can manage their cards and set their First Midwest card as their default.

Payment is then as simple as possible using Touch ID. Users simply hold their Apple device near the card reader, and their purchase is completed at thousands of participating retailers.

The smooth integration of mobile banking and Apple Pay makes First Midewest one of the best banks in Chicago for iOS users to consider banking with.

Related: Best Banks in California | Ranking | Review of the Top California Banks 

First National Bank of Omaha Review

First National Bank of Omaha was founded in 1857 and has been committed to the delivery of superior customer service since then, whether that’s working with individuals and families, or corporate clients.

As one of the preferred banks in Chicago, First National Bank locations are found throughout Illinois as well as several other states including Nebraska, Texas, and Colorado.

The bank maintains $20 billion in assets and 5,000 employees. Core values at First National include integrity, respect, and passion, all with a mission of creating and maintaining long-term relationships.

Key Factors That Enabled This Bank to Rank as One of the Top Banks in Illinois

Below are a few of the reasons First National Bank of Omaha was included in this ranking of the best banks in Illinois and one of the top banks in Chicago.

Bank Green

First National Bank of Omaha strives to deliver not only excellent products and services but also to do so in a way that’s environmentally-friendly.

First National Bank operates in the greenest ways possible, making them one of the top midwest banks for environmentally-conscious banking consumers.

For example, the data center is powered by fuel cells, which don’t release greenhouse gases. Online banking services help cut down on the use of paper and resources, and all online banking, BillPay, and Paperless Statements are free of charge for First National Bank customers.

The use of electronic bills, statements, and payments can save the average household 6.6 pounds of paper each year, and it helps avoid the use of 8.8 gallons of gas used to mail bills, statements, and payments.

First at Work

First at Work is a signature program available from this leading bank in Illinois, featuring special banking privileges for participants. To enroll in the program, participants should work for a company that’s partnered with the First at Work program.

Benefits of First at Work include:

  • No monthly service fee
  • No minimum deposit to open or maintain an account
  • One Overdraft Forgiveness every 12 months
  • Free ATM withdrawals
  • Free bank logo checks
  • Free Visa debit card
  • Free online banking, Bill Pay, and Account Alerts
  • Discounted rates on auto, home equity, and personal loans
  • $400 mortgage closing cost credit
  • $25 safe deposit box
  • Free debit card fraud monitoring
  • Free stop payments

Visa Checkout

First National Bank clients can participate in the Visa Checkout program using their First National Bank Visa Card.

The benefits of using Visa Checkout include the option to pay with a single login from any device, data that’s protected by multiple layers of security, and the options to keep earning card rewards.

When you enroll your First National Bank Visa Card in Visa Checkout, you never have to re-enter your card or address information with any participating merchant or retailer.

Wealth and Investing

As one of the best Midwest banks, First National Bank features many wealth management and investment services and products as well as traditional individual retail banking.

Professionals from this leading Illinois bank can work with customers to achieve financial security through planning and goal creation, and they can also work with clients to protect and maximize their wealth.

Also available through the wealth and investment services at First National are the option to create tributary funds and education savings accounts.

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Woodforest National Bank Review

Woodforest National Bank maintains many branch locations–more than 740–throughout the U.S. This includes Illinois, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and more.

Woodforest has been one of the premier banks in Chicago and one of the top banks in the Midwest for more than 35 years. It’s a privately owned company, with the Employee Stock Ownership Plan making up the largest shareholder.

The goal at Woodforest National Bank is to offer quality service and have an in-depth understanding of the needs of each client served.

Key Factors That Led Us to Rank This Bank as One of the Top Banks in Illinois

Below are some of the important reasons Woodforest was included in this ranking of the top banks in Illinois.

Card Services

The Woodforest debit card allows holders to make purchases that are secure and convenient. Along with making worldwide purchases, cardholders can get cash anytime because of 24/7 ATM access and use any Woodforest ATM location and not pay an ATM Balance Inquiry or Withdrawal fee.

Users also enjoy robust fraud protection and safety measures that include fraud transaction monitoring, debit card fraud alerts, Zero Liability, and travel protections.

To maintain control over finances, card holders can review all of their transactions daily through the use of Woodforest online banking services.


A signature offering from Woodforest, one of the best banks in Chicago, PrivilegePay is an overdraft protection option to offer customers peace of mind.

PrivilegePay is a service that provides assistance if a customer makes an accounting error. Customers must opt-in to take advantage, and if you maintain an account in good standing, Woodforest may approve overdraft items within the available limit.

An account is considered in good standing if the customer makes sufficient deposits to bring their account to a positive end-of-day balance at least once every 35 calendar days, avoids excessive overdrafts, and as long as there are no legal orders, levies or liens against the account.

Second Chance Checking

Second Chance Checking is an exclusive Woodforest checking account that’s designed for people who have experienced challenges with their bank accounts in the past.

This account gives them the opportunity to regain their financial footing with only a $25 minimum to open the account and a low monthly fee for account holders who have a direct deposit.

Other checking account options available from Woodforest include the standard Woodforest Checking Account, Choice Checking, and Sterling Advantage, designed for customers who are 50 years and older.

The Platinum Plus Checking Account provides the most competitive interest rates, along with unlimited check writing. 

Switch Kit

To ease some of the burden that comes with changing banks in the Midwest, Woodforest offers consumers access to the Switch Kit.

The Switch Kit includes a step-by-step guide that consumers need to follow to move all of their accounts successfully to Woodforest. The kit also includes a Direct Deposit and Automatic Payment Change Notice, which requires minimal information to make the move.

There’s also an attached Checking Account Closure Notice that new Woodforest customers can send to their old bank to have their accounts properly closed and balances forwarded to the correct location.

Read More: Best Banks in North Carolina (Ranking & Review)

To browse exclusive reviews of all top rated banks in Illinois, please click on any of the links below:

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Conclusion—Top 13 Banks in Illinois

To most consumers, a bank is much more than somewhere that allows them to write checks. Banks have evolved over the years, and along with offering basic depository services, they’ve become full-service institutions that provide high-level products, services, and technology.

Partnering with the top banks in Chicago and the best Midwest banks can help a consumer build a stronger financial future, meet individual goals, and remain empowered when it comes to the management of their money.

Of course, this is if they choose the right bank.

It was with those considerations in mind that the above list of the best banks in Chicago, the top Aurora banks, the leading banks in Joliet, and the overall best banks throughout the state of Illinois was selected.

This ranking of the best banks in Illinois includes big name national banks as well as smaller community banks, but regardless of size, they each have a superior reputation and are dedicated to serving the needs of their customers, whatever those needs may be.

AdvisoryHQ (AHQ) Disclaimer:

Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.

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